US stocks advanced in early trade on Tuesday as Alcoa kicked off the earnings season by beating forecasts, while Japan’s pledge to buy eurozone bonds eased concerns about eurozones debt.

The S&P 500 Index advanced 4.84 points, or 0.38 percent, to trade at 1,274.76 at 9:50 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 49.53 points, or 0.43 percent, to trade at 11,686.98. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.34 percent.

Alcoa kicked off the earnings season late Monday by reporting a stronger-than-expected fourth quarter profit. Alcoa swung to fourth quarter profit of $258 million or $0.24 per share from a loss of $277 million, or$0.28 per share in the same quarter a year ago. Sales rose 4 percent to $5.65 billion. The company expects a 12 percent rise in demand for the metal in 2011, driven by aerospace and auto manufacturing.

Concerns over the euro nations' ability to raise money in debt sales this week eased after Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said on Tuesday the government would buy more than 20 percent of a bond offering by the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).

Shares of Apollo Group (NASDAQ:APOL) surged 7.14 percent after reporting better-than-expected first quarter earnings late Monday.

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD) shares declined 6.09 percent after announcing that the company's President and CEO Dirk Meyer has resigned and that Thomas Seifert has been named Interim CEO.

US stocks ended mixed on Monday, following a sell-off in Europe, on worries over Portugal possibly needing a financial bailout, ahead of the kick-off of the fourth-quarter earnings season.

The euro declined 0.13 percent to 1.2934 against the dollar and the yen declined 0.50 percent against the greenback.

Crude oil futures advanced 1.01 percent to $90.15/barrel and gold futures rose 0.61 percent.

European stock markets are currently trading higher with FTSE 100 up by 70.93 points, DAX30 up by 57.86 points and CAC 40 up by 39.93 points.